I have never liked beer specifically because of the bitterness. What would you suggest using instead? I saw someone mention coke or adding chocolate but would like Elise’s suggestion.
Hi Janet, when beer is bitter it’s because it’s made with hops, and hops are bitter. A “hoppy” beer is a bitter beer. While Guinness Extra Stout is also brewed with hops, the dominant flavor comes from roasted barley, giving it a rich, sweet, malty taste with notes of molasses. If you haven’t tried a Guinness Extra Stout, I would get a small bottle and try it first to see what you think. Don’t get the Draught, get the extra stout. You can also try adding a tablespoon of molasses to the stew, that should balance out bitter notes with more sweet. If you don’t want to try the Guinness at all, I would use 1 cup of red wine (a wine you would happily drink, not cooking wine) and a cup of beef stock as a sub for the Guinness.
It’s in the crock pot now. Smells amazing! and the taste…….WOW!! Love it! I didn’t have dried thyme so I used a quarter tsp ground thyme and red potatoes right out of the garden. My Husband is going to love it!! Thanks.
Alright, so first time I made this recipe I followed it but used pre-cut stew meat as well as yukon gold potatoes instead of parsnips. We just moved recently so I wanted to make it but on this small island they do not sell the Guinness Extra Stout. So if there is anyone out there like me that can’t get their hands on it, the O’hara’s Extra Irish Stout tastes pretty damn good in it for sure, it is a great substitute. =] My husband and I absolutely loved it in the stew.
Can anyone recommend a different stout similar to the guinness stout to use? I can’t seem to find the extra stout on this tiny island, so any suggestions for a good stout substitute would be greatly appreciated.
I’ve just asked an Irishman I work with about the “extra stout” and he said that Guinness is “extra stout”. There are other varieties of stout but Guinness is the strongest stout – so I’ll take his word for it so I can try the recipe.
Dang, well sadly can’t get it here. But I did end up using one called O’haras extra irish stout and it was pretty damn good. =] I almost like it more, tough to say.
I love it, one of my favorite recipes! I don’t use turnip and celery stalks, since i don’t like them. I add Worcestershire sauce and You should try!
I am making this wonderful stew again today for the umpteenth time. I do use Guinness draught and have not experienced any issues with bitterness. I believe the sweetness of the parsnips, carrots and rutabaga balance the flavours beautifully. Fresh branches of thyme and a couple of fresh bay leaves to start and fresh thyme leaves at the end. Brilliant stew indeed!
I love this recipe, but I have made a couple adjustments after reading all the comments. I add 2 squares of dark chocolate, no turnips and put in dumplings about 40 minutes before its done. It’s perfect for these cold winter nights.
I love this stew! I’ve made it numerous times now. I’ve modified it just slightly over the years. I flour the beef, I only use 1 tsp dried thyme, add potatoes, and thicken at the end. I cook it on low which means I have to start early. Browning the meat first thing in the morning is a pain. I’ve wondered if I can brown the night before as well as sauté the celery and onion. I know the FDA says not to brown meat the night before. But it doesn’t make sense to me since the meat is browned on all sides and will be thrown in the crockpot the next day. Has anyone done that?
Hi Jennifer, I have no problem with browning the meat and then refrigerating it ahead of time.
This recipe is so delicious! I’m not a beer person, I don’t drink the stuff, but I really enjoyed the guinness in this recipe, it made it more flavorful! My friends and my husband loved it as well.
Good afternoon loved the stew followed directions however it was soupy. Can I add flour ? Or cornstarch ?? It was a great recipe so now just playing around. Thank you.
Hi Kaytee, it should thicken overnight. Stews are always better the next day. Or you can add a little cornstarch or flour to it.
Perfect! I was going to make a hot water crust Guinness pie but decided to give my arteries a break and Googled a stew recipe. This was was good! I used Yukon gold potatoes and the 4 hours on high just helped them absorb the goodness, they held up pretty well. I didn’t have any turnips but might add some to the leftovers. Husband turned down leftovers, in favor of having more meals from this! As always your recipes rock.
I will let you in on a little secret. This recipe is also great with Coca-Cola ! Yep , just replace the Guinness with Coca-Cola . Wanted this stew . Which I have made many , many times . But forgot to get the Guinness , but had a couple cans of Coca-Cola on hand .
Want to try the recipe but how should I adjust for a 4 quart slow cooker?
Hi Senele, I haven’t tried making it in a 4 quart slow cooker, but looking at the amount of ingredients, it seems as if they should all fit. If so, then the recipe would work the same.
made this yesterday and it was fantastic. Used the Extra Stout and turnips and it was not at all bitter. We don’t like celery, so increased the onion and added 3 cloves crushed garlic. Didn’t have enough beef stock and only had a 12 oz bottle of stout, so added a cup of water. 3 sprigs of fresh thyme which I fished out at the end. I was prepared to add a buerre manie at the end to thicken, but it was Not at all soupy. 4 hours on high, 1 hour on low, 1.5 hours just sitting there waiting for the soda bread to cool. it was fantastic.
Made this the other day and it turned out awesome. The only problem I had was before I added potatoes (I love potatoes and can’t make a stew without them) the broth was rich and thick and fabulous. When the potatoes cooked it got watery. Never had this happen before…any idea why? They were russet potatoes. I added some corn starch to thicken it, but the pre-potato broth was so good I wished it had stayed that way. Your ideas would be most helpful.
Hi Helen, that’s a new one to me! No idea why that happened.
Mine is bitter but I think I realize why and others may have made the same mistake. Instead of using dried thyme, I used ground thyme. Yikes. That’s a lot of ground thyme. Very bitter.
That would be a lot of thyme!
I made this stew yesterday during the Boston blizzard and it was such a wonderful smell for the house! When I went to the Craft Beer Cellar to pick up the Guinness, I explained why I was using it and they convinced me to use a chocolate porter instead, which solved all of the bitterness problems people have been having (also did not use turnip, as I really hate it). It was awesome- I’d totally recommend it. I added red bliss potatoes about 45m before serving (so they held their shape), and right before I added the potatoes I tasted it and felt it was missing a depth of flavor, so I added a few Tbsp of soy sauce and that totally rounded it out. All in all really tasty!
Made this twice so far . Followed it to the letter the first time . A bit to soupy , but Really good . Not a fan of the turnips and the parsnips . So did not put them in the next time I made this stew . Made a few changes . Added potatoes . Added a extra 6 oz of Guinness and drank the left over . Added less stock . Floured the meat before I fryed it . I thought adding the potatoes and flouring the meat would make it thicker . It really didn’t help much . So made a roux and added a hand full of bread crumbs . It did the trick .
Nope, not a fan of this recipe. Not cooked long enough to make the meat tender (it was chewy). Turnips were definitely bitter — I’ve never cooked w/them before and not a hit with the fam at all — we picked them all out! The gravy was also bitter. I used “Guinness Quality Stout” Extra Foreign. Maybe I used too much but it was strong! Could not fit all the liquid in my crock pot so I boiled about 2 cups of broth/beer down to about half. Maybe it’s not the recipe’s fault but I won’t be cooking with beer anytime soon! Wine adds much better flavor imo. Also I found it strange this recipe had no potatos or garlic.
Love Guinness stews! One thing I have learned is to offset the bitterness, add about an ounce of chopped (I kid you not) dark chocolate. I cannot make beef stew the same way ever since I started doing this. It is SO yummy.
What would you say is the recommended serving size that the calories / carbs / sodium per serving? I had it this evening (fabulous) but would like to understand the nutritional impact.. ;-)
Hi Charles, I’m so glad you liked the soup! I don’t really do that type of analysis for the recipes, I have neither the time nor the expertise. And in the case of a stew like this, where you have a lot of leeway in terms of how much of some of the ingredients to add, and how much stew you serve yourself, it would be difficult to determine.
I was wondering if I could replace the beef for lamb?Thank you.
Hi Jeremy, I haven’t made lamb stew with Guinness, but if you do, please let us know how it turns out for you!
OK, this recipe does just not turn out well. I cooked it to the letter and the stew ends up being not only bland but bitter. It could really use some seasoning or something in it to make it a bit more savory. 1/5 stars, I would NOT recommend!
Hello Zeonchar, I’m so sorry the stew didn’t work out for you!
A couple of things. First, if the stew is bland it is likely because you have not added enough salt and perhaps your dried thyme is old and not as flavorful as it should be. Bland almost always means not enough salt.
Second, if the stew tastes bitter, many things could be contributing to that. The turnips you used could have been regular, mature turnips that are naturally bitter, and not the young sweet turnips called for in the recipe. Turnips are an acquired taste! They do add a bitter note to any stew and many people I know won’t eat them, but substitute potatoes or parsnips when they see that turnips are called for in a recipe. The Guinness can be an issue as well. The bottles for Extra Stout and Draught look similar, but the taste is completely different. Extra Stout is warm and malty. Draught is hoppy and bitter. So you have to make sure you are using the right Guinness. Finally, everybody has different taste receptors for “bitter”. Some people are much more sensitive to bitter flavors than others.
I had to make a bunch of changes because it was awfully bitter, like adding some sugar and more tomato paste. Also added veggies at the end because cooking veggies for hours only leads to mushy baby food. I think you need to take another look at this recipe. And no garlic! Thanks anyways.
Following the recipe to the ‘T’Butits bitter. And it’s taken forever. SO I’ll eat it tommorrow :)
If i want to make half the amount (450g of beef) how long do I cook it for? Sorry i am a very novice cook!! :)
Same amount of time.
Thank you. Just eaten it and it was delicious!!!! :) used a local double stout as they only sell Guinness draught in my village. Will definitely make again!
Hey, I tried your recipe with “russian imperial stout” ( 70.7 euro bitterness units) instead of guinnes. A bit more tomato gave back the right taste. Lovely recipe! My friends and I realy enjoyed it!
Good to know it works with Russian imperial stout. Thanks Peter!
Made this as a night before St. Patrick’s Day dinner and loved it. The Guinness added a very nice flavor. I thought the stout might be over-powering, but the Guinness added a very nice subtle flavor which complemented the beef and vegetables nicely.
I’m so glad you liked it Bob! Yes, the stout is surprisingly mellow, at least to me.
Made this today and it was delicious! Thanks for sharing.
this recipe seems delicious.. I’ve never used turnips and parsnips in my cooking .. I’ll looking forward to cooking this but what can I replace the Guinness extra stout with? We don’t use alcoholic beveragesthank you
Hi Sue, Given that it is a Guinness stew, there is no substitute for the Guinness. That said, you can make a perfectly good beef stew using beef stock in place of the Guinness.
Looks delicious! Any suggestions for a gluten free version? What would be a good substitute for the Guinness? Thank you!
The distinct taste of Guinness comes from the roasted barley with which it is made. Since barley has gluten in it, there’s no way to make a Guinness stew without gluten. That said, you can always just make a regular beef stew, replacing the Guinness with red wine or stock.
This recipe looks fantastic! Will be making on Monday. How long should it cook for in my crock pot on low? 6 or 8 hours?
8 hours on low.
I made this stew over the weekend and found the liquid to be bitter as some other reviewers also said. I did not add parsnips to mine. Could it have been from the thyme or celery? Wonder why some people had good results while others had bitter-taste to stew I did?
Hi Susie, I’ve been wondering the same thing, and I think it might have to do with the way different people are sensitive to bitter flavors. Due to genetics, some people (maybe a quarter of the population) are much more sensitive to bitterness in foods than others. Question for you, is straight Guinness at all bitter to you? To me it is not.
Another thought about this. There is a marked difference between the taste of Guinness Draught beer and Guinness Extra Stout. Guinness Draught tastes like a regular dark beer, with bitter notes. Guinness Extra Stout is rich and caramel-y and not nearly as bitter as the draught. The bottles look very similar though, so it would be easy to mistake one for the other. If one made this stew with Guinness Draught, it wouldn’t be nearly as good and it would be on the bitter side.
I’ve had this in my slow cooker for four hours and my home smells AMAZING! Cannot wait until 5:00 to have this wonderful stew. I’m going to prepare course-ground grits with garlic and cheese and then pour the stew over … perfect comfort meal while we’re wrapping Christmas gifts. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I feel certain it’ll be a keeper! Merry Christmas!
I’m making this as I type. Mine was turning out bitter as well, so I added some more tomato paste (about a tablespoon with a little hot water to pour) and it fixed that right up — this is turning out excellent, I can’t wait to eat! :)
Years ago I came across a Guinness stew recipe that was quite similar to yours but somewhere during a move I lost it. I do recall that my old lost recipe included prunes but they are not necessary in your creation as the carrots and parsnips will certainly add a depth of sweetness. As I write, the stew is merrily simmering away in my slow cooker and is smells luscious. I will be making British roast potatoes to accompany your recipe. I thank you for posting and will follow up with a very positive review!
Love love love your recipes, Elise! Made this stew in my crockpot before I left for work, just got home to taste test and everything is perfect – the veggies are soft but not mushy, the beef is tender, and the broth has so much flavor. The only hard part was holding back on drinking a Guinness at 6 AM. Thanks for another wonderful meal idea!! xoxox
This was great!! Just had it tonight for dinner and made it yesterday. I boiled some potatoes while I reheated the stew and when I served this dish I mashed them up a bit and put them on top of the stew. I didn’t find that any thing was too mushy besides the celery but I am not the biggest fan of celery so it worked out great for me. I do like a bit of a thicker base so as I was reheating I just added a bit of flour like I was making a gravy. It got rave reviews in my place and will be making this again! Thank you so much for sharing.
Regarding the inclusion of potatoes, I serve the stew on a bed of garlic mashed potato which really adds something, and soaks up the liquid.
Great idea, thank you!
I am making this right now, followed the recipe to the “T”, cooking it on high for about 3 hrs. and I just now turned it on low to cook another 3. But it appears very soupy – I was hoping it would be a thickened broth. Any ideas besides thickening it with flour which I really don’t want to to?
The stew is on the soupy side initially, though it does thicken up over time, especially if you are eating leftovers for several days. If you want it more thick, you can peel and chop up a russet potato and add to the stew. Adding the potato to the halfway point should be fine. In the future, you may want to reduce the amount of added liquid, either the stock or Guinness.
Very nice Elise! I make beef stew with beer, but haven’t with Guinness which is a surprise since I love the stuff. How were the parsnips? Were the woody and stringy in the middle? I love them but sometimes find that I have to core the larger ones.
Sometimes parsnips can be rather woody in the center, which then needs to be cut out. I try to choose parsnips that look like they are younger to avoid that.
I tried this stew this weekend and it was a hit with everyone! I ommited the turnips and parsnips and added potatoes and it turned out great…very soupy however, so I will add more veggies next time!Thank you!
What exactly does “tightly covered” mean here? I am planning to try out this recipe, but I don’t have a slow cooker. Do I simply put the pot in the oven with the lid on? Do I need to seal it somehow? Advice would be very much appreciated.
Just make sure the lid fits. You don’t want a lot of steam escaping.
Does anybody think this dish would be decent with a slow roasted chicken breast instead of beef? I’ve made the decision to be a “no red meat” vegetarian.. But this does sound amazing. Very similar to what my grandmother made me as a child!
I made this last night for my boyfriend, and it was outstanding! I’ve never cooked with turnips before and I was nervous about the bitter reviews, but it wasn’t bitter at all. We will be eating this all week long! Thanks for the recipe, Elise!
No freshly ground black pepper anywhere??? Oversight?? I’ve never seen salt on meat or in meat dishes without some pepper.
Add some freshly ground pepper if you would like. This recipe is just a guideline.
Overall, I liked this stew. My daughter thought it was bitter, but she’s used to turnips in our stews and soups so I think it was the addition of the Stout. I included potatoes and rutabaga in mine and it was sweet enough. I think I’d add more herbs than just the thyme; didn’t seem to do much for the overall flavor. I’ll definitely make again, but work in a few changes.
Had this yesterday for St. Patty’s Day – it was delicious!
I made this stew but forgot to buy the Guinness, so I used a cabernet sauvignon. It was delicious. I marinated the beef (which was a sirloin tip roast) in olive oil with Italian seasonings. I did brown the meat first. I also added potatoes along with the turnip, parsnips and carrots. This will be a favorite in this household for a long time.
Tasty stew and the aroma filled my kitchen …….will definitely make again. Added 5 cloves of garlic….1 cup red wine (decreased broth) and bay leaves. I thickened it slightly with corn starch/water. The soda bread was ideal for soaking up the gravy/juices.
3 cups beef broth +1 pint Guinness +liquid from vegetables =when done in a slow cooker, seems like a very soupy stew for 2 lbs meat.
About the bitterness, could it be from the extra stout?
Hi Franky, there are a lot of vegetables in this soup that absorb the liquid. I found the liquid ratio in this stew to be just right. The broth is so good, what extra is there is perfect for sopping up with crusty bread. As for bitterness, no one I served the stew to found it at all bitter. But everyone’s taste is different.
We found it a bit bitter too, but we thought it was the parsnips. Added potatoes at the right time instead of turnips and threw in 8oz. of sliced mushrooms. Also added 2 tsps sugar early on. Wife and I both loved it. The beer tenderized the meat perfectly.
Parsnips should be sweet, like carrots. Turnips however can be quite bitter, as well as parsley. Guinness “Extra” Stout, which is what is most commonly available here, isn’t a particularly bitter beer. But if you think the stew needs a little more sweetness to balance the bitter for your taste, I recommend a little molasses.
I just made this. I found it to be a little bitter. I added 1/2c. of barley trying to mellow it out which helped a little. It was good & something I might try again with less stout.
Yum! Do you think this would work in a pressure cooker?
This is a wonderful recipe, I love it — but it’s for winter! St Patrick’s Day in Ireland means spring, hope, and *lamb*!
I really want to make this for a party this weekend. Can I use a Dutch oven for it?
Yes, as I mentioned in the recipe notes.
Of course it probably undoes the whole concept but what could one substitute if they didn’t want to use alcohol?
Yes, the point of this stew is to use Guinness. If you want to make a regular beef stew in the slow cooker, you can do that too. Just add 5 cups of beef stock (or 4 cups if you want an even quart). Or, if you might try adding Kaliber “near beer”, a brand of very low alcohol beer, that is somewhat malty and sweet, also made by Guinness. Note that I haven’t tried it in cooking.
Good to know Will!
Mmmmmm…..as usual. Though I have the same question as Alec – could we add the vegetables later? Your picture looks as though the vegetables held up well but whenever I do stews in my slow cooker they always come out mushy. Delicious but still mushy. And I never go to the max time of my slow cooker because it seems to be a bit hotter than the average. Now I’m just wondering if adding your recipe for Colcannon as a side to the stew for St. Paddy’s meal would be overkill (likely).
Looks delicious! Can you substitute potatoes for the turnips?
You can, but I would put them in an hour or two before the end of cooking, not from the beginning. Potatoes tend to disintegrate with long cooking times.
I’ve got a celery root that I need to do something with. Think it would be good if I chopped it up and threw it in w/the other root vegetables?
Unless that sets off some kind of warning klaxon in anyone’s head, I’ll give it a go and report back.
Sounds like a great idea! I love the taste of celery root, and it’s such a tough root it would hold up well to the long cooking.
The celery root worked great!
My only problem with it might be the carrots, parsnips, turnips, and potatoes. Could you add them in later so they would not be mushy?
There are no potatoes in this recipe. Potatoes would tend to turn mushier with the long cooking. The parsnips, carrots, and turnips hold up fine. Just cut them into big pieces.
No way this gets done in 4 hours in a slow cooker even on high! Had to take my guests out to dinner after 6 hours on high didn’t do the trick. Hate it when the directions are so bogus.
Hi Terry, it sounds like you had some seriously tough meat, or something’s off with your slow cooker.
It takes longer than 4 hours to cook stew in my slow cooker-I usually cook it all day-and the meat comes out perfect.
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